Parents are now considering homeschooling their children to keep them safe from coronavirus and ensure their continued learning amidst this pandemic. But what exactly is homeschooling, how do you get started, and is it ideal for everyone? In this MoneySmart article, we’ll talk about the basics of homeschooling, as well as its pros and cons.
What is homeschooling?
Homeschooling is a parent-led form of education with one or both parents as the main educator. Parents choose to educate their kids at home instead of enrolling them in a traditional school.
The parent then follows an age-appropriate lesson plan that focuses on their child’s strengths, skills, and interests, at their own pace.
Parents choose to homeschool their children for many reasons. They usually feel dissatisfied by the available education programs or want to be more in control of what their children are learning.
Some parents feel like their children will do better in a non-traditional school structure, so they seek an education that does not have a one-size-fits-all approach.
There are parents who want to remove their children from a negative school environment.
Others have family- or work-related issues, and homeschooling is the only viable option.
Parents who have children with special needs also choose to homeschool. They feel that as parent-teachers, they can give them their children the support they need to develop their character and enjoy positive social interactions.
Different types of homeschools
Homeschooling with a homeschool provider
This type of homeschooling is enrolling with a DepEd-accredited traditional school and following their curriculum. Homeschool providers handle the paperwork and documentation, as well as student’s records and transcripts for when you wish to enroll them again in a conventional school.
With independent homeschooling, you follow any curriculum and use any resources that you wish. There are many options you can find online or you can follow a curriculum based on your child’s interests.
Parents are responsible for setting daily schedules and planning their children’s lessons and activities, as well as keeping track of their grades.
There are DepEd exams that they should take, like the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) or the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT), if you wish to enroll them again in a traditional school.
Is homeschooling different from online learning?
Yes. Because of the pandemic, many parents are saying that they’re homeschooling their kids. However, it’s just online learning because parents are merely facilitating work and activities sent to them by their child’s school. The school still mandates the child’s educational requirements.
With homeschooling, you are the primary educator of your child. You decide what you want your child to learn.
There are still guides to help you out. But at the end of the day, you are the decision maker when it comes to what will be best for your child.
What are the advantages of homeschooling?
Education that’s tailor-fit
You can focus on your child’s strengths and interests to keep their learning experience fun, engaging, and fresh. This can develop their natural curiosity and cultivate their love for learning and exploring.
Lessons can start when your children are most alert and energetic to learn, and you can integrate whatever they’re into at the moment in their lessons and activities.
Values that you want to pass on to your children
As their primary educator, you can teach the values you want to instill in them. You are responsible for their behavior, beliefs, and character development.
There’s no need to compete with a traditional school’s culture or philosophy, or even with what their peers or teachers value or believe in.
With homeschooling, you also don’t need to worry about the negative things your children are being exposed to whenever they leave the house. You can monitor their interactions on a daily basis and learn which influences are good or bad.
Unlike regular schools where classes start and end at a certain period, you can adjust your homeschool schedule anytime. As long as they are not behind in your lessons, you get to enjoy some leeway.
More quality time with your children
Children usually wake up very early to beat the horrible Manila traffic, and then they spend another hour or so in traffic on their way home.
They’re tired and sleepy, but they still need to spend a few hours on school work before they can finally go to bed. And then the same cycle starts all over again the following day.
Because of this, the amount of time you spend with your children is limited to just 3 to 4 hours each day. That is if you’re not busy with your own work as well.
With homeschooling, you can maximize your quality time with your children and bond over activities anytime, whether school-related or not.
What are the disadvantages of homeschooling?
There should be a full-time parent-teacher
Homeschooling requires one or both parents to teach your child full-time. This can be a problem for parents who need to be in the office or are working from home the whole day.
As their primary educator, you need to be present all the time. Some parents will welcome this opportunity to be around their children all day. But for others, it may be a little too much, especially if you value your personal ‘me’ time.
It will eat up most of your time
Homeschooling is not just about teaching your children what they need to learn. It also involves preparing lesson plans, researching and curating fun and enriching activities, and making sure that you’re on track with the curriculum.
And because homeschools don’t have the same resources as traditional schools, parents need to be creative and resourceful, and that also takes up time.
It’s not always cheaper than traditional schools
Just because you’re not paying for school bus fees, school uniforms, and other miscellaneous expenses does not mean homeschooling is cheaper. Sometimes you will end up paying the same, or even more, just to have a homeschool setup.
There’s the pressure of being the best role model
Not all parents are confident about their intelligence or academic accomplishments. Thus, the idea of being responsible for your children’s education can be a little daunting. It puts pressure on parents to always know the answers and to always be a good role model.
Things to consider before homeschooling your children
Homeschooling is not ideal for busy, disorganized, and short-tempered parents
This will only lead to frustration and fights with your children, ultimately affecting your parent-child relationship and how your child views learning in general.
Every age group has different needs and requires different levels of attention. Younger kids need more supervision compared to older kids. Thus, more patience and understanding is required.
How capable are you and how much do you want to?
Your desire and capability to homeschool your children also plays a big factor. Consider your academic background, your resources, and your commitment to teaching through the entire school year because this is how you will build their structure of learning.
How creative and resourceful are you?
As an educator, you need to think out of the box to provide an enriching and interesting learning experience. In a homeschool setup, resources are limited. Make use of resources that are available to you, and get creative in case they are not.
Homeschooling sounds like a perfect setup, but it is not without its downsides. To succeed in this endeavor, you must first be clear on why you want to homeschool.
Do your own research and get in touch with people who are currently homeschooling so you can get their inputs. Join online groups where you can get first hand information from homeschooling parents.
Should you decide to homeschool, make sure to enroll in a DepEd-accredited homeschool provider.
And don’t be scared at the thought of being your children’s teacher. There are many resources available online that will help you succeed at homeschooling, most of which are free.
Also, you don’t need to be an expert at every subject. You can always hire tutors for subjects that are too complex. Just have a love for learning and the commitment to give your child the best education possible!